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Police: Cop recruit aids in suspect's arrest

A Center Moriches man, who police said fled a traffic stop in a stolen car, was arrested after a short pursuit late Thursday night -- detained and held by a Riverhead Police Department probationary recruit who happened to live in the area.

Suffolk County police said Joseph Mensche, 26, of Cynthia Lane, Center Moriches, was arrested after being stopped on Hampton Drive in Center Moriches by Riverhead probationary recruit Luigi Luigini at 11:16 p.m. Police said Luigini, who attends the Suffolk County Police Academy, saw the suspect being tracked by officers, including an aviation and canine unit, and identified himself as a police officer -- ordering Mensche to stop and get on the ground. And, police said, Mensche complied.

Uniformed officers then arrested Mensche on charges of third-degree unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, third-degree unlawful fleeing of a police officer and "several" vehicle and traffic law violations.

Mensche is scheduled for arraignment Friday in First District Court in Central Islip.

Police said that Mensche was driving a 2000 Toyota Camry southbound on James Hawkins Road in Moriches when an officer attempted to stop him for a violation. But, police said, Mensche instead fled. The officer then learned that the Toyota had been reported stolen on Wednesday, police said.

Police said that after a short pursuit, Mensche crashed the car into a snowbank and fled on foot, but was spotted not long after by Luigini.

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